Save for one fashion faux pas in Notting Hill when Anna Scott stands in front of Will Thacker asking him to love her wearing a pair of flip flops, Julia Roberts’s character nails the lo-fi ’90s style that is enjoying a comeback. Despite being a Hollywood movie star, Scott lives in Vans Old Skool sneakers, leather jackets and berets. She’s more off-duty model (Bella Hadid, anyone?) than blockbuster film actor, who’s famously been on a diet every day since she was 19.
With her hair swept off her face in French plaits, Anna, in a pearlescent patterned kimono-inspired jacket shrugged over a khaki vest and dark-wash jeans, now calls to mind Zendaya’s Rue from Euphoria, a tomboy-turned-vintage hawk whose Jean Paul Gaultier kimono wrap vest stole the spotlight in the opening episode of season two. Wearing a baby-blue knitted twin set, Anna gives shades of Hailey Bieber in block-coloured Jacquemus (albeit without the ab flash). Her shirt and tie for a press junket at The Ritz is giving Bella’s own Windsor-knotted tailoring moment in Dilara Findikoglu. OK, we’re getting carried away.
Scott’s everywoman style – all non-descript sunglasses, white tees and pinstriped pants – seems real, attainable even, precisely because it is. Roberts wore the clothes she arrived on set wearing during her book shop confessional scene, as she felt that the costume she had been provided with was just that: a costume. Anna’s clothes had to feel authentic when she was pouring her heart out to Hugh Grant’s Will. For Julia, that meant flip flops and a cute cardi set, and who’s to argue with that?
Of course, ’90s and ’00s rom-com style is ingrained in the cultural psyche and will always be fawned over in a nostalgic way. Diane Keaton’s Annie Hall will always be lauded for her ability to pull off mannish tailoring, Ali MacGraw’s Jenny Cavilleri reminds us of the value of a great camel coat, and Renée Zellweger’s Bridget Jones flies the flag for big knickers, which pretty much underscore any great look. But there’s something quietly brilliant and unassuming about Julia Roberts’s style in Notting Hill. We expect Scott to engage full film star mode at any given moment, but she’s happier in men’s shirting than she is in red-carpet dresses (fun fact: Richard Curtis used real-life Julia Roberts looks from premieres past to illustrate Anna Scott’s movie montage). Moreover, any die-hard Vans wearer will always have a place in our hearts… and has already stolen those of Bella, Hailey et al.